First-generation producers Jared and Jill Wareham balance careers, family and farm

When Jared Wareham is not at home on his ranch, near Lowery City, Mo., he can be found jet-setting across the country connecting genetically-verified cattle at every point on the supply chain.

He spends most of his time traveling the lower 48 states and Canada, visiting ranches, evaluating feeder cattle, attending sales and speaking at events as the general manager at Top Dollar Angus.

“You’ve got to be where the cows and ranches are. There is no other way to get out there and help people have success unless you are in the trenches with them,” Jared said.

Jared and his wife, Jill, are first-generation beef producers. Together, they built their Angus-centric ranch from scratch in 2001 and currently run 100-fall calving cows.

Jared spends 80 percent of his time on the road, which leaves him little time at home with his family and cattle. Jill and daughters, Mikah (13), Rhett (10) and Sawyer (8) join him on the road every chance they get.

“I choose to look at it as a blessing. My kids have got to see a lot of this country,” he said.

Jared has established a work/ranch balance by keeping things simple and using technology to stay in touch. Communication is key for Jared and Jill.

“When you are young it is hard to know certain things. Wisdom isn’t free, it costs you something. It’s called emotional equity. You pay for that through mistakes.” Jared remarked.

The Warehams recognize their strengths and weaknesses and have adapted as a couple to make their dream a successful reality.

“Keep it simple. We often try to out-think ourselves,” he said.

Jared knew his herd must be low maintenance, yet productive while he was on the road so he compartmentalized his operation and refused to invest in a plethora of equipment or luxuries. This strategy has allowed him to successfully ranch from the road. He encourages other ranchers to be smart, realistic, and conservative with their purchases.

Jared implemented rotational grazing. This effective strategy allowed him to maximize his available forage and keep labor and feed inputs at a minimum. He credits this strategy for improving his pastures and extending his grazing season to 10 months.

Jared compartmentalizes the breeding and development of his cattle. He ships his replacement females and bulls offsite to be developed and artificially inseminates all of his cows. He acknowledges AI is labor-intensive for 72 hours but he values the predictable and tighter calving season.

“Since I do travel, we have to rely on some external labor resources. Unless we are calving or feeding hay, we do not have an enormous amount of manhours,” Jared explained.

Mingling within the various segments of the cattle industry has given Jared some insight. He recommends producers develop a long-term vision for their operation. His experience leads him to recommend raising solid black or red Angus-influenced cattle with quality genetics. His suggestion to producers is to invest in good bulls, instead of new trucks or equipment, that will rapidly depreciate.

“If you maintain a good cow herd, you will have something that has equity you can build on. You won’t have a lot of equity in a bale bed versus a really good set of cows,” Jared said.

He has seen first-hand the difference in the profit margin between ranchers that invest in good genetics and maintain a tight, 45-day calving window from ones that do not. He suggests all producers make these changes to prevent dollars from being left on the table on sale day.

“My cows come after everybody else’s. Because it is so compartmentalized, we can smoothly transition through any potholes,” Jared remarked.

Top Dollar Angus is Jared’s third start-up business to manage. Before joining Top Dollar, he managed Flying H Genetics and New Day Genetics.

His role at Top Dollar is multi-faceted. He works with some of the most progressive Angus and Red Angus breeders in the industry.

The consumer, packer and producer demands are evolving as trends change. It is becoming increasingly necessary to produce less discountable cattle, which includes cattle that are too fleshy, uneven in size or lack the pounds to complete a pot-load.

“I can tell you by working in the industry, there are commodity cattle and there are very good cattle. You are going to fit into one or the other. You might as well embrace it and fit in one or the other,” he remarked.

“I enjoy high-stress environments. I function very well in them,” he laughed.



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